PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan REFUSES to answer question about LIV's Greg Norman

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has given his latest thoughts about the LIV Golf League and "the meeting" called by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

Ben Smith's picture
Mon, 9 Jan 2023
PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan REFUSES to answer question about LIV's Greg Norman

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan refused to say whether he'd answer the phone to his LIV Golf League rival Greg Norman. 

Monahan has remained largely a silent figure since the Tour Championship at East Lake. 

But in his first remarks to the media since then at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the embattled commissioner described a landscape of two rival leagues going their separate ways. 

LIV - now known as the LIV Golf League - are gearing up for their second season which starts in February.

Related: Jordan Spieth reacts to "disrespectful" question

The breakaway tour made a splash in 2022, signing the likes of Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka

Monahan previously described a world in which the PGA Tour could not win a "dollar bills arms race" with their Saudi-funded rival. 

That being said, the American circuit has considerably increased their prize purses for 2023. 

As many as 13 events have been given "elevated status" in an attempt to rival the purses offered by LIV. 

The first of which was the Tour's first stop in 2023 in Kapalua. Jon Rahm erased Collin Morikawa's seven-stroke advantage to take home a massive cheque for $2.7m.

Morikawa later admitted "it sucked" after being visibly stunned by what happened

Monahan told the media of the professional golf landscape: 

"I think the model of the PGA Tour is as strong as it's ever been. If you look at it from a player standpoint, I feel like we have made changes to our schedule, changes to our product that I think make us as attractive as we can possibly be to top players. I think for them, the most important piece in putting together a schedule, does it put players in the best possible position to achieve at the highest levels of the game?
"I think we absolutely have done that and we'll continue to do that. As it relates to strength, we're growing, growing financially. Last year we had a 31 percent increase in comprehensive player earnings.
"I think this year we're somewhere between 16 and 18 percent, and we have a solid group of sponsors, media partners, tournament organizations all coming together. And I feel like as you look out to the future, despite the challenges of the past year, we're again the strongest we've ever been, and I'm going to do everything I can to make certain that continues to be the case.”
"We're at a point now where it’s product versus product. And we have our schedule, we've laid it out, we're going to keep getting better and better and better.
"They have theirs, and we're going to continue to be the most pro-competitive aspirational tour. What they have is very different than what we have.
"We're going down our path and they're going down theirs." 

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Many of the changes to the PGA Tour were spearheaded by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy

Both players called a meeting of the elite players to discuss what the Tour needed to do going forward in response to LIV. 

Not everyone in that meeting before the FedEx Cup playoffs remained with the PGA as Joaquin Niemann later joined LIV. 

Monahan stressed that while he knew what was being discussed, it was very much the players' meeting.

He continued: 

"I always think someone's trying to take my lunch. I spend a lot of my time thinking about number one, what do we need to do to improve. And then if you were trying to create something new and different, what would that be? So I wasn't necessarily surprised by it at that point in time, but anytime you hear something for the first time, it gets your attention and it got my attention.
"I think the reality is prior to that, I had a lot of conversations with Tiger at Rory, so I had a general sense of what they were talking about. Absolutely.
"That was a meeting that was called by Tiger and Rory. I may have made suggestions. I understood who was going to be in the room, but it was their meeting. I mean, I want to be very clear that it was their meeting." 

Monahan and Norman have traded barbs publicly and privately over the last 12 months. 

Famously, Norman wrote an email to Monahan that began with: "Surely, you jest". 

This was after Monahan threatened to suspend PGA Tour members who played in LIV's curtain-raising event in June 2022. 

So would Monahan take Norman's call now?

"He hasn't called me so…"

But what if he did? 

"You know me well enough, I'm not getting into hypotheticals."

Next page: PGA Tour pro says "it's a problem" LIV stole "all the a**holes"